There are major differences between men’s and women’s college tennis scholarships. The recruiting process is the same for each and so is the recruiting calendar. The difference is between the classification of the sports from the NCAA.
Women’s NCAA Tennis is classified as a “headcount” sport. It is similar to Football and Basketball where the coach only has a set number of scholarships to offer. Women’s Tennis scholarships are usually “full-ride” and include tuition, room and board. Each NCAA college has 8 headcount scholarships to offer in Division I. Division II schools have 6 scholarships. The NAIA has 5 scholarships while junior colleges can offer up to 8. This is the maximum number of scholarships each school can offer but some schools may fund the program with less money and offer fewer scholarships.
If a coach offers you one tennis scholarship, then she or he have 7 more to offer. It usually averages 3 per incoming freshman class.
Men’s college tennis programs are classified as an “equivalency” sport. There is a set number of scholarships, but they can be divided up into partials and spread amongst multiple athletes. NCAA DI programs have 4.5 scholarships to divide while DII have 6. NAIA programs also have 5, while junior colleges can offer up to 6. If a coach offers you a .25 or 25% partial, then he or she has 4.25 more scholarships to award.
With such limited number of tennis scholarships available for both men and women it is important to start your recruiting early. Do not wait until the middle of your Senior year of high school. College tennis coaches have a limited recruiting budget and you must take the initiative to let coaches know you exist and want to play for their school.
Your grades also play a large part in tennis recruiting. Getting less than a 3.0 GPA can hurt you deeply. Currently over 50% of DI colleges can not admit you even if you were offered a scholarship. If your grades are behind now, it is not too late to have a great year academically and bump them up.
Even though the number of scholarships is low, if you are willing to work as hard as you do on the court, off it towards your tennis scholarship recruiting, you can earn money to play college tennis.
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